HK Time Out Magazine – Column #12

timeout

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

‘Green shoots’
Greenpeace won’t be happy with how I learned to stop worrying and love the skyscraper, but Hong Kong’s super high density set-up is actually a very economical model. Our compact living arrangements minimise the impact on the local environment, which is over 70% countryside, giving us one of the highest proportions of national park reserves in the world. It means almost everyone is well-connected to public transport, it quashes the need for car ownership, enables local economies and makes commuting to the supermarket an outlandish idea. One local blogger calculated that only 0.15% of the world’s land mass would be urbanised if everyone were to live, as he does, on an 18,000 person housing estate. Plus, efficient living needn’t denote a bleak and claustrophobic existence, as most land would be left to nature or for public use.

Blog – Notes to My Mother

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The Heritage office has been offering students free postcards to anywhere in the world, so I asked the kids if they’d like to write to Mr Tom’s mother.

Here are some of the responses submitted by my 8-year-olds

Fig.1 – Note how Zoe has posed the eternal question of where exactly one gets one’s gracious good looks…

postcard 1

…Yes indeed, why is he so clever and beautiful?!

Fig.2 – Proof that media-scaremongering can infect the mind of a small Chinese child, Vincent was worried that Britain had been overrun with chicken flu…

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Fig 3. Kylie ventured into the random and surreal whilst getting something off her chest – her penchant cows…

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Fig. 4. An anonymous writer expressed their concern that their English teacher was unloved in this short-yet-slightly-creepy postcard…

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Fig 5. Finally, this eloquent and lovely A+ example from school-wide celebrity, Rosemary Lok Sen (who has her own website! )

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And here is the video response from my family…

HK Time Out Magazine – Column #11

timeout

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

Mainland meddling.
Show up to any protest vaguely involving China and you’ll spot dark clothed men murmuring in Putonghua with earpieces and shaved heads – the mainland undercover police ‘goons’ stick out worse than Donald Tsang’s spottiest bowtie. They suspiciously eye you up as if you’d just killed their cat – though, I hardly blend in either, being a pale, ginger-haired beacon of gweilo tallness (somehow we both like to think we go undetected!)

Unfortunately, Beijing’s interference is not always as blatant but anyone keeping an eye on government reshuffles and weird immigration refusals will notice that the nosy motherland is taking more of an interest its prized SAR. At handover, China was never going to kill its cash cow and potential-showcase-for-troublesome-Taiwan, yet the past couple of years have seen unassuming Macau become a testing ground for a protracted erosion of the ‘two countries, one system’ promise. Amnesty International agrees, HK Human Rights Monitor suspects a more ‘secretive’ influence from the central government, whilst Freedom House recently downgraded our press freedom rating due to increasing self-censorship (hence I won’t mention the South China Morning Post or TVB by name).

USA – Videography 2009

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0:16 – Philadelphia. A run-in with the Bestboro Baptist Church hate group.
3:52 – Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge black supremacist group.
4:59 – Houston. Lakewood Megachurch.
8:15 – Slideshow.

0:17 – New York: Ground Zero, South Street Seaport, Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, Wall St, The Trump Building, New York Stock Exchange, Grand Central Station, Times Square, Empire State Building, Ed Sullivan Theater, Flatrion Building.
2:06 – United Nations.
2:41 – Slideshow.
3:30 – Philadelphia: Duck Tour Bus, South Street, Liberty Bell.
4:03 – Philadelphia: Eastern State Penitentiary.
5:10 – Washington DC: The Mall, Washington Monument, National WWII Memorial, Reflecting Pool, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, US Capitol, National Air and Space Museum, The White House.
6:58 – Slideshow.

0:16 – Atlanta, CNN HQ
0:38 – Georgia Aquarium
3:26 – New Orleans
4:01 – Hurricane Katrina Tour
6:13 – Memphis
6:43 – BB King’s Blues Club
8:32 – Slideshow

HK Time Out Magazine – Column #10

timeout

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

In bed with the Junta

China may have begun to distance itself from the wacky regime in North Korea, but its support of the detestable Burmese junta hasn’t missed a beat. India, China and Hong Kong have too many vested interests at stake to have joined the international chorus of condemnation when democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced this month. It should come as no surprise that China’s Foreign Ministry simply said that the world must ‘fully respect Myanmar’s judicial sovereignty’.

Having been granted a visa at the plush Myanmar consulate in Wanchai last year, I paid a 10-day visit to the repressive Southeast Asian country (carefully minimising spending on government services, I might add). For years, UN, EU and US-backed sanctions were piled upon the region’s poorest country, but it was clear during my first few hours in Yangon that – in light of the open border with China – any trade sanctions were utterly ineffective. As a local taxi driver told me, ‘it’s useless – the junta can get anything they want’.